A poetry collection written by Hailee Cook, a senior at Arrowhead Park Early College High School (APECHS), was one of just 16 submissions to earn a Gold Medal Portfolio, after being selected from a pool of 330,000 art and writing submissions, created by seventh- through 12th-grade students throughout the country, in the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The Gold Medal Portfolio is the program’s highest national honor and includes a $10,000 scholarship.

Hailee Cook

APECHS Senior Hailee Cook

“It’s incredible to see a student who is currently working towards three Associate’s degrees, in addition to her high school diploma, take the time to create such poignant, thought-provoking work,” said Superintendent Dr. Greg Ewing. “I look forward to seeing all the great things she will undoubtedly accomplish after she graduates.”

Since starting in 1923, the awards program and has recognized a wide range of iconic writers, artists, and other creative industry experts including: Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Philip Pearlstein, and Sylvia Plath, Stephen King, Richard Linklater, Zac Posen, and Lena Dunham, who all received Scholastic Art & Writing Awards as teens.

The contest is the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens, according to Scholastic. The program featured 29 awards’ categories, which included poetry, photography, sculpture, humor, editorial cartoons, and video game design.

All of art and writing submissions were judged by a panel of creative-industry experts based on originality, technical skill and emergence of personal vision or voice.

As part of the award, all of the honorees will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Carnegie Hall in New York City on June 8.

“Our wonder and amazement at the creative output of our country’s youth —and the dedication of our extraordinary educators—never ceases, and this year is no exception,” said Virginia McEnerney, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the nonprofit organization that presents the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. “The young people being recognized today for the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are to be celebrated for their creative and critical thinking, their bravery in telling their own stories on their own terms, and their inventiveness in recording and recreating their worlds. Watch closely, because among this 2,500 are members of the next generation of great American artists and writers.”

In order to qualify for the national competition, Cook’s work had to first win a Gold Key award at the regional level through one of the more than 100 local Affiliates of the Alliance.

Cook is on track to earn three associate’s degrees from Doña Ana Community College — in pre-business, art and science — in addition to a high school diploma, when she graduates from the APECHS this May. After graduating from APECHS this fall, Cook plans to attend New Mexico State University.

Cook is an active member of the LCPS Student Advisory Council, a group that offers input to the school board, and president of the student government at APECHS, Amis said.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to identify students with exceptional artistic and literary talent and present their remarkable work to the world through the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

For more information, contact LCPS Communications Coordinator Paul Dahlgren, pdahlgren@lcps.net, (575) 527-5808.